The Justice Department files a landmark suit against Google
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Alongside 11 states, the DOJ alleges that Alphabet’s Google used its dominance in online search to quash competition and spent billions to make itself the default engine on browsers.
“For many years, Google has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising—the cornerstones of its empire,” the lawsuit reads.
In response, Google called the lawsuit “deeply flawed.”
“People use Google because they choose to—not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives,” a spokesperson said via email, adding that a more comprehensive statement is forthcoming.
“We’re pleased the DOJ has taken this key step in holding Google accountable for the ways it has blocked competition, locked people into using its products, and achieved a market position so dominant they refuse to even talk about it out loud,” CEO and founder of Google competitor DuckDuckGo, Gabriel Weinberg, tweeted regarding the news.
The European Union has also fined Google billions in recent years for anti-competitive behavior, such as favoring its own shopping business over others on its platform. Alphabet still awaits approval from E.U. regulators over its $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit.
And beyond Alphabet, the DOJ case will be heavily watched as other tech giants—Facebook, Apple, and Amazon—also face the harsh limelight of antitrust scrutiny.
SPAC FATIGUE? A blank-check company formed by Cerberus Capital Management now says it expects to raise less than previously thought. Cerberus Telecom Acquisition, a SPAC focusing on its namesake, is now looking to raise $300 million instead of $400 million, per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BLAST FROM THE NOT-SO-DISTANT PAST: Last year, a time that feels like eons ago, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann was offered a much-maligned $185 million consulting deal as part of his exit package from the troubled company. That deal may no longer be in force, according to WeWork Executive Chairman and SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure during The Wall Street Journal’s Monday tech conference. Neumann only received a part of the $185 million, according to the Journal. But that means that he can now compete with WeWork if he so wishes. Neumann had previously sued SoftBank when it terminated a $3 billion tender offer in which he was set to sell many of his WeWork shares.
- Handshake, a San Francisco-based recruiting platform focused on college students, raised $80 million in funding. GGV Capital led the round and was joined by investors including EQT Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital and True Ventures, along with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Emerson Collective and Imaginable Futures.
- Dren Bio, a San Carlos, Calif.-based company developing technologies against disease-causing cells, raised $60 million in Series A funding. SR One and Taiho Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including 8VC, Mission BioCapital, BVF Partners, HBM Healthcare Investments, and Alexandria Venture Investments.
- LearnUpon, a Dublin-based online learning management platform, raised $56 million in funding from Summit Partners.
- Output, a Los Angeles-based maker of software for musicians, raised $45 million in Series A funding. Summit Partners led the round.
- BrightFarms, an Irvington, N.Y.-based indoor farming company, raised $100 million in debt and equity through Series E funding. Cox Enterprises led the round and is now the majority shareholder. Cox was joined by investors including Catalyst Investors.
- v2food, an Australian plant-based meat startup, raised AUS$77 million (US$55 million) of Series B funding. Investors included ABC World Asia, Altitude Partners, China Renaissance, Esenagro, Horizons Ventures, Main Sequence Ventures, Marinya Capital, Novel Investments, Sequoia Capital China, and Temasek.
- 4iQ, a Los Altos, Calif.-based cyber security company, raised $30 million in Series C funding. ForgePoint Capital and Benhamou Global Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including C5 Capital, Adara Ventures, and TheVentureCity.
- VENN, a Los Angeles-based streaming network for gaming and entertainment, raised $26 million in Series A funding. BITKRAFT and Nexstar Media Group (Nasdaq: NXST) led the round and were joined by investors including Eldridge, WISE Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, and Josh Kroenke (Vice Chair of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment).
- Zest AI, a Los Angeles-based maker of software for credit underwriting, raised $15 million in funding from Insight Partners.
- eVisit, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based telehealth company focused on enabling virtual care for hospitals and health systems, raised $14 million in Series A funding. TVC Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Kickstart Seed Fund, University Growth Fund, and Jeremy Andrus.
- Knowledgehook, a London-based mathematics learning platform, raised £13.5 million ($17.5 million) in Series A funding. Investors included Mesoamerica’s Alexandria Corp., Nelson Education, Ideal Ventures, and Nicoya Ventures.
- Unit21, a San Francisco-based maker of API tools for risk and compliance teams, raised $13 million in funding. A.Capital Ventures led the round.
- ThinkIQ, an Aliso, Viejo, Calif.-based maker of supply chain software for manufacturing firms, raised $11.6 million in Series A funding. Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Hitachi Ventures and ArcTern Ventures.
- Fabric, a Bellevue, Wash.-based e-commerce firm, raised $9.5 million in seed funding, Redpoint Ventures led the round.
- Flick, a New York-based live group chat platform for sports influencers and their fans, raised $5 million in Series A funding. AlleyCorp led the round and was joined by investors including Bullpen Capital, Everblue Management, Amity Ventures, and Courtside VC.
- Jam, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that turns websites into collaborative docs, raised $3.5 million in Seed funding. Union Square Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Version One Ventures, BoxGroup and Village Global.
- Oula Health, a New York-based company pregnancy and birth care company, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. Collaborative Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Female Founders Fund, Rock Health, Metrodora Ventures, and Kate Ryder (CEO of Maven). Read more.
- Micronic Technologies, a Richmond, Va.-based maker of clean water technologies, raised $3 million in seed funding. The Center for Innovative Technology led the round and was joined by investors including The Pearl Fund and CAV Angels.
- Insha, a Berlin-based maker of a fintech account, raised €2.5 million in seed funding. Param led the round.
- Ways2H, a Long Beach, Calif.-based developer of solutions that converts waste into hydrogen fuel for mobility, microgrids and power generation, raised $2.5 million. Pacific6 Enterprises led the round.
- Mainsail Partners invested $41 million in PlanHub, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based project bid marketplace for the commercial construction industry.
- Versapay, backed by Great Hill Partners, megred with Solupay, a Twinsburg, Oh.-based payment services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Machine Solutions, backed by BW Forsyth Partners, acquired Beahm Designs, a Milpitas, Calif.-based maker of thermal processing machines to perform the principal composition of catheter manufacturing. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Pretium and Ares Management agreed to acquire Front Yard Residential (NYSE: RESI), a U.S. Virgin Islands-based provider of rental homes, for $2.4 billion in cash.
- Kainos Capital agreed to acquire Nutrisystem, a Philadelphia-based weight management brand, from Tivity Health (Nasdaq: TVTY) for $575 million.
- Caltius Structured Capital invested in Salas O’Brien, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based engineering, construction management, technology and commissioning firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Next Glass, backed by Providence Strategic Growth, acquired Oznr, a craft beverage marketplace. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Sageview Capital invested in XSELL Technologies, a Chicago-based provider of an augmented intelligence platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- CapVest Partners agreed to acquire Datasite, a Minneapolis-based provider of software to the M&A industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Corrona, backed by Audax Private Equity, acquired HealthUnlocked, a London-based social patient health network. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- GI Partners agreed to acquire Vast Broadband, a Sikeston, Mo.-based provider of gigabit-speed broadband, video and phone in South Dakota and Minnesota.
- FactSet (NYSE:FDS) agreed to acquire Truvalue Labs, a San Francisco-based provider of environmental, social, and governance data. Truvalue was backed by Katalyst Ventures and The Entrepreneurs Fund. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- SK Hynix (KS: 000660) plans to acquire Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) solid state drive business, NAND memory chip product and wafer business, and a production facility in Dalian, China for about $9 billion in cash.
- Southeastern Grocers, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based chain of supermarket chains including Winn-Dixie, filed for an $100 million IPO. It posted sales of $8.3 billion in the year ending Dec. 25, 2019 and a loss of $116.2 million. Read more.
- Foghorn Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company creating gene therapies for cancers and solid tumors, plans to raise $120 million in an offering of 7.5 million shares priced between $15 to $17. Flagship Pioneering and the Klarman Family Foundation back the company. Read more.
- Abcam, a U.K.-based maker of biological reagents, plans to raise $148 million in an offering of 8.9 million ADSs priced at about $16.52. T. Rowe Price Associates, Durable Capital Partners, and Aberdeen Asset Management back the firm. Read more.
- Nextdoor, a San Francisco-based social network for sharing information and trading goods among neighbors, is weighing an IPO that would value it between $4 billion to $5 billion, per Bloomberg citing sources. Investors include Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Riverwood Capital, Axel Springer and Tiger Global Management. Read more.
- Opthea, an Australia-based maker of therapies for retinal diseases, raised $128.2 million in an offering of 9.5 million ADS (10% sold as warrants to acquire ADSs at the offering price) priced at about $13.50 apiece. Read more.
- Decarbonization Plus Acquisition, a blank check company formed by Riverstone Investment Group, raised $200 million. Read more.
- Helix Acquisition, a blank check company formed by Cormorant Asset Management seeking a healthcare target, raised $100 million. Read more.
- Horizon Acquisition II, a blank check company targeting the media and entertainment industry, raised $500 Million. Read more.
- Good Growth Capital named Holly Krisztina as a venture partner on the West Coast.